The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues recognizes exemplary rural journalists, providing examples for others to follow.
As part of that effort, the Institute presents an award in honor of Tom and Pat Gish who published The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky., for more than 51 years. Tom died in 2008; Pat has health issues but remains publisher, and their son Ben is editor. The Gishes have withstood advertiser boycotts, declining population, personal attacks and even the burning of their office to provide the citizens of Letcher County the kind of journalism often lacking in rural areas. They exemplify the courage, tenacity and integrity that is often necessary to render public service in journalism, especially in rural communities. That’s why the award is named for them, and they were the first recipients of it, in 2005.
Nominators for the Tom and Pat Gish Award should send detailed letters to Director Al Cross at the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, explaining how their nominees show the kind of exemplary courage, tenacity and integrity that the Gishes demonstrated in their rigorous pursuit of rural journalism. Documentation does not have to accompany the nomination, but is helpful in choosing finalists, and additional documentation may be requested or required.
Letters should be postmarked by Sept. 1 and mailed to: Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, 122 Grehan Journalism Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042. For more information, contact the Cross at 859-257-3744 or Al.Cross@uky.edu.